The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on March 7, 2023 to discuss tax policy’s role in increasing the affordable housing supply for working families. The discussion centered around the affordable housing shortage and proposed changes to the LIHTC program to address and incentivize developers to build more affordable housing. Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) also used the hearing to introduce the DASH Act (Decent Affordable Safe Housing for All). The witness’s testimony is summarized below:
- Steve Walker (executive director, Washington State Housing Finance Commission) called for reinstating the lapsed 12.5 percent LIHTC increase, as well as other provisions within the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act during his testimony.
- Sharon Wilson Géno’s (president, National Multifamily Housing Council) testimony urged lawmakers to act now to reverse the shortage of housing supply and to address zoning laws and regulatory barriers that impeded the production of affordable housing.
- Mark Calabria’s (senior advisor, Cato Institute) testimony called for federally held land to be made available for affordable housing development, to offer relief for high development costs. He also called for resolving the long-standing lumber trade dispute with Canada.
- Garrett Watson’s (senior policy analyst and modeling manager, Tax Foundation) testimony centered on improvement of the tax credit and collecting better data to address future conditions. Watson also recommended obtaining better information on developers and tenant data over time.
- Denise Scott’s (president, Local Initiatives Support Corporation) testimony discussed expanding the nation’s housing supply and the need to address issues to housing not only for low-income households, but also for middle-income households. Scott also supported the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act included within the DASH Act.
Overall, Senators displayed bipartisan support for the LIHTC program and LIHTC was mentioned several times by witnesses and committee members as the most effective tool to address the current affordable housing shortage. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) was critical of the program, stating that he is not a fan of using the tax code to “socially and economically engineer.”